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Any adoptive nursing and/or SNS nursing mamas here?

Posted by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM
  • 17 Replies

Hi everybody!

I'm hoping that there are other adoptive nursing moms or moms who use an SNS while nursing here. Our adopted son is 2 months old. I've been trying to nurse him since he was 15 days old. I use a SNS with donated breast milk. I'm feeling discouraged as we're having difficulties with it. He latches on great. Sucks good. It's when I try putting the SNS tube in his mouth, either with my nipple, or after he's latched that we're having the problem. It's as if he doesn't like this "foreign" object in his mouth. I've tested him by just giving him the breast & he pacifies on it very nicely. Then when he's hungry & I put the tube in to actually feed him, he unlatches frequently & gets frustrated. He does get a bottle part of the day but I've been trying to decrease bottle use & increase SNS use. I don't think it's nipple confusion though since he will stay latched onto my breast without the SNS tube in. This issue is causing bf'ing to be unenjoyable by both of us & I'm just so discouraged that I'm ready to give up...but I don't want to!! Any tips and advice welcome! Thank you!!

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM
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by mel on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:51 PM

When i was using the SNS (not an adoptive baby, and it was only short term) I didn't allow her to nurse without the tubing in place and there were no bottles. So shes didn't have a choice.


by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 3:54 PM
1 mom liked this

I have never done it but donate to an adoptive nursing mom and she's having the same problem.  Her dd doesn't like the tube in her mouth.  She's trying to cut out bottles and use syringes to supplement right now.  It's a lot of work but I think cutting out bottles will help- making no other choice but SNS/nursing or the syringe.  Good luck! And major kudos for doing this!!!

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Because he spent his first 15 days of life in the NICU, was born with low birth weight, had respiratory issues, was withdrawing from multiple street drugs. had a very weak suck and wasn't officially ours yet, a bottle was all he had. Once able to start working with him, we had to work very hard to get him to even latch on before we could even try to introduce the SNS. This is our next hurdle. We couldn't give him an "all or nothing" choice. We had to meet him where he was at.

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Thanks, Sarah!

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 5:52 PM
What SNS are you using? Sometimes different tubing makes a difference. You can actually use a small feeding tube and that me be preferred by baby.
by Group Admin -Tabitha on Jun. 9, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Heres a blog by one of our own, she adopted and BF her daughter...used supplemental feeders, bottles nd relactated she should have tons of info!

by on Jun. 9, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Yeah, the SNS is pretty frustrating! I found the Lact-Aid worked better. I breastfed my adopted baby so I spent a lot of time using both! Here's my take:

At Breast Supplementers

As an adoptive breastfeeding mom, I spent some time using at breast supplementers. Here is a summary of my experience with them:

One thing to know at first is that using an at breast supplementer is a HUGE pain! It takes a lot of patience and perseverance, but is time well spent. It can be hard to get baby latched on properly with the tubing in the right place. My best advice is stick with it because it is worth it!

When I brought baby home I went on-line and ordered the Lact-Aid. All of my research said that this was the best option for the long term. It would be several days before it arrived so I went ahead and started with a Medela Starter SNS. This is a disposable system ideal for short-term (24-hour) supplemental feedings at the breast. It is cheap, and better than nothing. Really the only point I want to make about this one is it is designed to be used for 24 hours, NOT long term. If you are going to be using an at breast supplementer for more than a couple of days, then you need a better system than this.

Medela Starter SNS

Once the Lact-Aid arrived I was disappointed to find that my baby couldn’t get the formula from it.  She seemed to be latched on and sucking well, but she just couldn’t draw the milk. I tried raising the bag, even squeezing it. I made sure the formula wasn’t too thick to pass easily through the tube. She was only 4 lbs. and as a premie she was still not “to term”. We consulted with an IBCLC and decided that it may be a weak suck that would likely improve as she approached her due date. I decided to go ahead and get the Medela SNS. Unlike the Lact-Aid, the Medela SNS is a gravity flow system. It also comes with 3 different sizes of tubing. I decided to use the largest tubing, with the SNS held high so that the milk would flow easily for her. I gradually moved to smaller tubing, then to the Lact-Aid.
Medela SNS

the Lact-Aid
Bottom Line:

For multiple feedings a day and long-term use I definitely choose the Lact Aid! You can prepare a bunch of bags of milk in advance (it really helps to have several assemblies as well, a bit of an investment but cheap when you look at the formula you won't buy because you brought milk in!).

I found the SNS to be cumbersome and often leaked.

Tips and Tricks:

·       Use COLD formula. Sometimes it can be hard to know if baby is actually getting the formula from the supplementer. When the formula is cold, you can feel it coming out across your nipple and into baby’s mouth.
·       The filter that you use with the Lact-Aid is the same as a reusable or permanent coffee filter. I got a coffee filter and would make up 24 hours worth of formula and filter it all at once, instead of using the little filter provided and doing it a bag at a time.
·       A strategically placed band-aid can be a place to slip the tubing through to get it and keep it in the right place. I find this works better than tape because it is easy to adjust how far the tubing goes in.
·       I found I did not need to use the neck strap for the Lact-Aid, that instead I could just “sit” it between my breasts in my bra.
·       To keep the tubing in place I would slip the tubing under the strip of fabric of the nursing bra above the breast. This would hold it in place better than a band-aid or tape. (See photo/diagram below)

by on Jun. 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM
1 mom liked this

Thanks everybody!! The links have been very helpful. I will implement some of the tips mentioned. This morning I kept the milk colder than normal & it was easy to "feel" that he was getting it. Usually, I depend on hearing him swallow but with a loud household with 3 more kids & 2 dogs, that's not always easy. Also, I tend to give him a bottle for his first feeding of the day. He is sleeping pretty good through the night & is absolutely famished when he wakes up. I stuck it out with the SNS for his first feeding today. He was actually satisfied & fell asleep on me & has been napping for about 2 hours now.

I'm gonna stick it out & keep working with him. I need to order more SNS bags. Instead of getting just bags, I'm getting another whole system so I have more of the feeding devices. With just 2, I never seem to have time to wash them fast enough after each use so we've only been nursing 2-3 times a day. Having 4 on hand will really help and double our nursing efforts, which will get us through most of the day.

For someone who asked, I'm using the Lact-Aid system. After doing much research, it looked like it was the most recommended one so that's what I went with. The tube is very tiny. I'm wondering that since his suck is still a little weak if he's just working too hard & not getting the satisfaction of being fed fast enough & this is causing him to unlatch, out of frustration. Maybe I need to look into the Medela one to see if it works better for him, at leas for now.

Again, thank you everybody!! I really appreciate it & am feeling a little more determined today! :)

by on Jun. 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM
I would look into different size tubing definitely. One mom in here lost her medium sized tubing and her son flipped when she used the small tubing. She had to go up to the large size.
by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 5:29 PM
7 moms liked this

And we're off! We are using the SNS for feedings, using donated breast milk, about all but 2 feedings a day. The night feeding is still a DH can take turns at night too. Then when I just need a break or am too busy to sit still long enough to nurse.

And <<<drumroll>>> I discovered today that I have started to relactate! I gave birth to my last bio kid 19 years ago. That's how long it's been since milk has run through these 'girls'.

Because I needed to focus on being successful with the SNS and keep the donor milk supply well stocked (which is a lot of work), I gave up on trying to relactate. I was pumping and using the recommended lactating herbs. After feeling defeated, I stopped trying. That was over a month ago. This morning I was feeling compelled to pump just to see if I am producing milk. Sure enough! A few drops came out of just the left breast. That's all the encouragement I needed. If I'm producing even just a few drops without pumping and without taking herbs, maybe if I start the regimine up again, I'll start producing more!

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